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Jazz 102, Rockets 91

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward scored 15 points and starters Randy Foye and Al Jefferson each had 14 points Monday night to lead the Utah Jazz to a 102-91 victory over the Houston Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Jazz (6-6) led by as many as 23 points and didn't allow the Rockets to get any closer than nine in the second half while improving to 4-0 on their home court this season.

Houston (4-7) fell for the third time during its three-game trip. The Rockets played the second half without star shooting guard James Harden, who left late in the first half with an upper respiratory infection after scoring six points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Forward Patrick Patterson led the Rockets with 19 points, Jeremy Lin added 13 and Chandler Parsons contributed a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. But Houston shot just 34.9 percent from the field against Utah's improved defense.

Utah had 11 blocked shots, including three by backup center Enes Kanter and two apiece from Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. Though he made just 4 of 12 shots from the field, Jefferson pulled down 16 boards for his eighth double-double.

Houston started the third quarter strong and used a 6-0 run to pull within 75-66 after Greg Smith's dunk. The Jazz responded with seven straight points, including a rare 3-pointer by backup guard Jamaal Tinsley, to recapture a double-digit lead for good.

The Jazz cooled off after a hot-shooting first half to finish hitting 40.2 percent from the field, but that included a torrid 42.9 percent (9-for-21) from 3-point land.

Even though Houston played in Los Angeles on Sunday while Utah rested, the Rockets were the ones who came out strong to start the game, scoring the first seven points.

On top of that, the Jazz had to go to their bench quickly, after Favors, the new starting power forward, picked up his second foul just one minute into the ballgame.

That, however, turned out to be a blessing for the Jazz.

An ensuing 13-1 Utah run put the home team ahead 15-10. The Jazz took off again in the second quarter, holding Houston scoreless for almost five minutes while going on a 13-0 surge.

Marvin Williams, who replaced Favors early on, led Utah with 12 first-half points. The highlight of the first half, however, was a fast-break alley-oop pass from two Jazz reserves, with DeMarre Carroll feeding a sprinting Kanter for an impressive dunk.

Utah settled for a 61-44 halftime lead after going ahead by as many as 23 points in the second quarter. The Jazz shot 50 percent compared with 38.1 percent for the Rockets in the opening half.

NOTES: Rockets coach Kevin McHale remains away from the team because of a family matter. Houston has gone 2-4 under acting head coach Kelvin Sampson. ... This game featured two up-and-coming Turkish centers in Houston's Omer Asik and Utah's Kanter. ... Lin scored 28 points for the Knicks against Utah last season at Madison Square Garden in the second game of his "Linsanity" explosion. ... Houston forward Chandler Parsons' second-quarter 3-pointer continued his streak of hitting a long bomb in each game this season.
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